Letting Myself Rejoice In Good News

So….. We are having a baby!?!?!

While we were not surprised we were pregnant, there were a million emotions flooding me the moment we found out.

I am not the girl who ever wanted to be pregnant. My husband is not the guy who ever wanted a baby. Therefore, why would we ever try?

As the age old tales of couples who fall in love go though, you one day look at each other wondering if you will ever regret not having tried to have a baby together. That happened to us this past December.

JR & KR Baby Shoes

On top of it all, as we have been raising this spunky five year old, we see so many reasons he needs a sibling.

I want him to have a counterpart in this world and Jared and I both feel he needs to know this world is not all about him (so easy to slip into that when he is an only child).

Aiden & Baby Shoes

This summer, with a million things going on and circumstances changing in our family, we found out that we were adding another little Ribble to this small team we have created.

I was scared, nervous, excited, shocked, happy, and guarded all at the same time. I can’t begin to explain the weird feeling of being a full on mom in every way possible because I am raising a son, but at the same time having no knowledge or instincts about babies. I have no clue. However, that’s part of the journey and Jared and I get to go on it together.

I am choosing to see the unknown as a good place instead of a scary place. Most people would say that about raising a 5 year old Caribbean boy; instead I say that about having a biological baby. HA!

KR and Baby Pumpkin

As soon as we found out I was expecting, I immediately started preparing myself to lose the baby. Jared begged me to stop putting myself through such emotional distress, but my mind and heart were just torn. I couldn’t enjoy any of it. Some of these emotions had to do with the “first pregnancy” risks. Most of it had to do with something else all together.

You see, I have been on the journey of becoming/being a mom for four years now. In those four years, I have lost three children in the adoption process and only brought one home.

I know more about losing a child than I do about gaining one. 

My natural inclination was to prepare myself to lose this baby. My doctor has been amazing at putting my fears at ease and walking softly with us through this journey.

We found out just over a week ago that our baby was a boy and at that moment was when so many things came into perspective for me. I could finally let down a lot of guards and begin to enjoy him a little.

I knew immediately when I heard it was a boy that God had a great plan for this little one and that we were going to be so honored to be his cheerleaders on the sideline. I feel the same about Aiden every time I look at him.

Three Ribbles with Baby Shoes

So now, I am a legit BOYMOM. Through and through. I have a little baby inside that won’t stop moving and kicking and jumping (even for every ultrasound, he moves like crazy) and I have an almost six year old at home who has so much energy and spontaneity that it is difficult to keep up sometimes.

All that to say… apparently I am the mom of two very active boys.

KR, Aiden, & Baby

Begin praying for me now. : )

Thanks for rejoicing with us friends!

(oh and in case you are wondering : I am halfway through my pregnancy. Our little boy is due March 14th.)

Love-KR

(thank you to our amazing friend Kelsey Kirkegaard {www.wanderershearth.com} for capturing our gender reveal photos. I love watching you with Aiden and I CAN NOT WAIT to see you with your son Akers as soon as he is home from India!)

Life After The Black Hole

Today is October 10. I checked my blog today and the last date I posted was June 28. I mean…..black hole much?

For years we have had friends with school age children tell us that their summers get crazy when the children aren’t in school and Jared and I have never understood that. Can’t you put them in camp? Aren’t they visiting grandparents? Don’t you let them watch TV in the summer?

And then I became an instant mom to a 4-year-old who completed preschool this past May and all of a sudden my world halted. I had him scheduled every single week this summer with some sort of activity. So what happened to me??
I spent the whole summer managing his schedule only to realize that was all I had time to do – if I was going to also see my husband, clean my house, get some of my own work done here and there, and feed my family – The only thing I had legitimate time to do was manage my child’s summer schedule.

I just now (after he has been in kindergarten for two months) feel I am shaking off the black hole dust of summer. I honestly have no idea what happened, but I do know that as my priorities have needed to shift since becoming a mama, I was right on point to have been wrapped up in his little universe for his summer break.
We were both ready for school to start, but it was a good first full summer home with him.

Aiden at Disney (he went to Disney World this summer. Swoon!!)

Since getting my feet on the ground again, new things have been happening in the Ribble household. I can’t specify at the moment ALL the things, but I want to mention one of them.

Last year, I felt very strongly God asking me to become involved in the college ministry my church supports with a group of Belmont University students. I was able to write a bible study for the gals of the group and go through it with them. I was so excited for this time with them and greatly appreciated getting to know them.
As God would have it, the beginning of this school year brought about the current college minister moving on and the church approaching me about being the new College Minster for our church.

Because of the size of our church and the current involvement of the college students, this is a part-time position. I have a lot on my plate with my adoption work, writing, and wife/mom life, but it was very clear that I had already set my life up to be involved with these students and that God was carving a path for me back a year ago.

I accepted the position and my sweet husband jumped in with me. We have been going non-stop getting ourselves accustomed to this new ministry and adding new activities for them to be a part of/serve in. There’s a million times in my life being on staff at a church made sense (and was a reality at one point) but I never expected to be a collegiate minster.

I love it. These students are amazing. I don’t feel old enough to be their elder, but I am and I just have to deal with it and appreciate that they tell me I look like I’m still in my twenties and I am cool. Thanks kiddos. I will cherish those words. 🙂

I leave you with this, which is something I will write about again soon :

Bob Goff Quote
I have been taking the students on a journey this semester of looking at Jesus in different circumstances throughout the bible and dissecting his temperament and his compassion. I want to teach them to look for the character of Jesus and to emulate it to those they come in contact with. If they learn nothing else while under my leadership, I want them to know how to love others in a way so fitting of the King of Kings. It’s the least we can do.

My challenge to you my readers… If you haven’t jumped ship over my sabbatical…. Is this :

Pick up your bible. Find a story about Jesus (there are a lot of them by the way). Read about how he interacted with those he came in contact with. Why did he speak the way he did? Why did he love the way he did? Why did he stop his world for certain individuals?

The very first story I presented for the students to look at about Jesus was the story of the paralytic being lowered through the roof to him.
Bob Goff said this, “We are throwing people off of roofs we should be lowering them through. We’ll be remembered for our love, not our opinions.”

We need to love well. We need to bring people to Jesus at all costs. And we need to be the Jesus who will stop for them when they need us.

Can we be this Jesus to those around us?

Let’s try.

It’s good to be back friend. I love you all.

-KR

Moriya Clutch Giveaway

Every May I attend an orphan/adoption conference we call CAFO. CAFO stands for Christian Alliance for Orphans. The conference is massive. People attend for a multitude of reasons that range from global orphan care to local social workers working in small cities.
One of the greatest things, in my option, is the booth section where organizations and companies can set up to sell and promote their goods/services. Most conferences of any theme have this option and often it is annoying, however at CAFO, I always get to meet and learn about new organizations doing amazing things that I had no clue about.

If you remember last year, right before we went to get our son, I posted about getting Aiden a shirt that said “grafted-in.” This conference is where I saw that company for the first time. I also purchased a tank top from them that says “Speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves” and if you are out and about and you see me, I am probably wearing it. I wear it too often. I honestly should get rid of all of my clothes and keep this one shirt.
Maybe I should buy a second one so it doesn’t seem I only wear this shirt. But I do. Maybe I should purge my closet of everything but this shirt. (I am wearing it right now. Oh my. I just looked down and saw this. I have an issue.) I digress…..

Anyway, my point is, I found Hope Grafted In at CAFO in 2015 and purchased from them and now in 2016, I found Moriya Ethiopian Accessories and now you will thank me later.

I walked past their booth maybe four times while I was on a phone call just waiting to end the call so I could swoop in and gather all the goodies. They only had a sampling of their products, but that was more than enough for me.  My eye was immediately caught by this vibrant blue clutch. I don’t need another clutch. I hardly carry the ones I already own, but when I saw this clutch I knew I wanted it to be my next giveaway from my Instagram. I immediately imagined one of my readers carrying this gorgeous clutch and posting pictures to make me and everyone else jealous of it’s beauty.

Moriya Clutch Purse

Moriya is an organization that is providing jobs for mothers in Ethiopia who have had trouble feeding their children. By giving these women a job and a marketplace to sell their goods, their babies now have full bellies. I just LOVE that! Every purchase you make is feeding a child in Ethiopia and strengthening the family they have. How could you not want to be a part of such a beautiful story?

I also purchased a make-up bag from them in army green that has chevrons on it. I have been using it for my makeup and I often think it is too small, not because the design is too small, but because I pack too much into it. However, the greatest thing about this, because I travel so much, it forces me to pack my makeup in a more economical way for my suitcase. WIN WIN!

Moriya Makeup Bag

I highly recommend both of these products and if you are anything like me, you will immediately stalk their Etsy and Facebook for more eye candy.

As I mentioned, you are welcome.

Enter my giveaway for this sweet clutch from Moriya (distributed by Loving Shepherd Ministries).

To Enter:

1. Like this post and FOLLOW BOTH @krystalribble and @lovingshepherd on Instagram

2. Tag two friends in a comment on my Instagram contest photo who would love my mission and @lovingshepherd’s mission to uplift the broken people and places of this world

3.{optional for a second entry} Visit www.krystalribble.com and subscribe to my blogs (Pink Button on the Blog Page) in order to be notified each time I do another giveaway

4. {optional for a second/third entry} repost this photo with #krgiveaway and tag both @krystalribble and @lovingshepherd

GIVEAWAY winner will be drawn at random on Friday night July 1, 2016 and announced on my (@krystalribble) Instagram (Giveaway not sponsored by IG. Please know that I am receiving no compensation for this. I just absolutely LOVE what Loving Shepherd is doing with their Moriya Accessories and I want you all to join me in supporting their cause!)

 

{KR’s Book Club} Red Notice by Bill Browder {Review}

Book Club

To the normal person who sees this book and picks it up to read it, it is a book about high finance in both the United States and Russia with a story line to keep you on your toes. Its good. Really good.

I am not normally one to read a true thriller like this, but I had one particular mission to accomplish.
This book is the story about the circumstances that led to Russia banning Americans from adopting Russian children. This book is about what really happened to our little Alina. This is why she couldn’t come home to us.

Red Notice

If you want to read about finance and taking big risks, this is an awesome story about that. {I actually learned a ton of things that I never knew about high finance} However, if you are an adoptive parent and you have adopted internationally, you NEED to read this. Even if you never had a thing to do with Russian adoptions, you NEED to read this.

Why?

When you lose an international adoption due to government policies, problems, and red tape you often have no idea why. It is so difficult to understand what back door meeting happened that caused you to lose an adoption of a specific child. Just reading one example can lessen the burden of the unknown. {And even if you haven’t lost an adoption internationally, this is a good book to give you insight into how foreign governments work together on issues pertaining to your foreign-born child}

Browder’s book did just this for me. Being a part of a Congressional family has always given me a little better perspective on what actually happened to us all those years ago in Russia, but nothing could give me clarity like Browder’s depiction of the moments.

While reading this book I found myself cheering Browder on in his quest to seek justice for those Russia treats poorly; not only poorly… for those Russia kills. I applaud Mr. Browder.
I am sure there are a lot of families who lost their children in the Russia ban that would hate for me to say this; but this is what I have learned through attempting to adopt from three different countries : Sometimes, our passion to bring a child home is one of the fuels to the instability in their country’s current political and economic environment. Sometimes we are harming our children and ourselves more when we walk into a situation like this. When you go into another country to bring a child home to our country, there are so many moving parts that are defining how the process will go for you. Most of these moving parts you know nothing about and will never see, but they are vital to the health of your adoption process.

I have always been a firm believer that we can tell our relationship (As the United States) with another country not only by our trade agreements with them, but by how they handle adoptions with us. There were signs for many years that Russia was not working with us well. Mr. Browder’s book was able to shine so much light on the situation our family went through a couple of years ago.

As a girl who now spends time in DC helping families navigate our Congressional system to be advocates for the orphans they seek to help, I am so proud of Mr. Browder’s work to bring justice to his corner of this vast world. Isn’t that what we all want to do when we face injustice? 

Mr. Browder, if you ever read this, I hope we get to meet one day. I want to shake your hand as a mom who had a broken heart from losing a little one in Russia and instead of being upset with you, I want to thank you for standing up for what is right. Thank you for advocating for Mr. Magnitsky and his family. We all need to be a voice for the voiceless, no matter HOW they lost their voice.

-KR

**You guys and gals need to read this book. Like pronto. It’s so good.**

Buy it here : 

Promo for Sisk Memorial’s Women’s Conference on May 14th

The promo video, for Sisk Memorial Baptist Church’s Women’s Conference being held on May 14th, is posted below. If you are at all in the area near Fort Mill, SC, please come by and attend this conference. I would love to see you!

Church Address : 115 Massey St. Fort Mill, SC 29715
Conference Time : 12 pm
Soup & Salad Lunch Provided
{be sure to call the church and let them know you are coming. Phone : 803.547.2537}

 

 

Slow Down; Take Time {As seen in Lifeway’s Journey}

{This devotional was first seen in Lifeway’s Journey devotional magazine for women. This devotional was one of mine that was featured in their April 2016 issue. Enjoy!}

Lifeway Journey Magazine April #2

Slow Down; Take Time

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

I am a rusher. I rush through life and way too many important moments.

Now, if I tell you I have a 4 year old, do you believe that I always get from Point A to Point B very quickly? If you have any experience at all with a 4 year old (especially a strong-willed one) you know that your timetable doesn’t match his or hers.

The other day I was working around the house, doing laundry and cleaning up, and I had decided I was going to head to the grocery store at a certain time. My son had been sitting on the couch watching one of his favorite cartoons when I swept in and said, “Put your shoes on. We have to go to the store.” He looked up at me with eyes almost fully closed. He was tired.
I continued to gather his shoes and socks, and as I approached him, I noticed a look in his eyes that screamed Stop! I took a deep breath and asked him if he needed “Mommy Time.” This is our code for, “Should I hold you for a while?” He nodded yes.

He fell asleep on my chest for 45 minutes. As he began to sweat on my shoulder and his gentle breath slowly swept in and out across my skin, I noticed his peace in my willingness to put on the brakes. He asked me to stop for a minute and when I did, peace filled his little body.

How often do we rush past our loved ones, never actually seeing them? Never actually meeting them where they are? How often do we drag our children along on our everyday errands when all they need is some attention and connection?

I love the message David gives us from the Lord in Psalm 46:10; “Be still, and know…” Have there been times when you’ve had a revelation from God when you’re rushing from one task to the next? I don’t think it works that way. It’s when we are still that we know who God is and what He has for us. When we are quiet He has room to speak and reveal who He is to us.

Take heart my friend. The Lord desires for you to rest in Him. Find some moments to breathe today and seek the face of our Lord. He may just reveal His will for you through your children.

Steps of Faith: Lord, help me slow down and see the needs of my loved ones around me. Help me to learn to stop long enough to hear from You and act upon Your will.

Painful Sacrifice {As Seen in Lifeway’s Journey}

{This devotional was first seen in Lifeway’s Journey devotional magazine for women. This devotional was one of mine that was featured in their April 2016 issue. Enjoy!}

Lifeway's Journey April 2016
Painful Sacrifice

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested him, offered up Isaac.” (Hebrews 11:17)

The story of Abraham obediently leading his son up the mountain to be sacrificed has always struck me as a superhuman test of faith, a faith I was unsure I would ever have.

How can I reconcile a God of so much love with a God who would force me to give up things I hold so dear? is the question I often wrestled with.

There have been a few times in my life when I’ve felt God urge me to let go of something. In the past, this meant a long-term boyfriend or a bad habit, but in my adulthood, it means greater sacrifices.

Oftentimes, the thing God is asking us to give up is not something we see as bad for us, and we’re afraid to let go for fear of never gaining that particular thing back again. But do we really want the same things given back to us when God actually has something better in mind for us?

I recently saw a cartoon picture of Jesus kneeling down in front of a little girl, asking her to hand him her teddy bear. She appears to be trembling and unsure. The picture shows that Jesus has a much larger teddy bear behind His back, one she can’t see.

This is the story of all of our lives. We hold on to things we feel we can’t live without because our vision is so limited. But God’s vision-His thoughts and His ways- is so much grander than what we can fathom. Daily, we have the choice to either relinquish our plans to the Lord, trusting in Him, or to keep clinging to our tiny, feeble plans.

I remember a season when I was praying about something God had asked me to sacrifice. I was lamenting about how difficult it was for me to sacrifice this particular thing and asking for Abraham’s strength to guide me through. As I was praying, I was hit with what felt like a bolt of lightning in my soul. I realized the same God who gave Abraham strength thousands of years ago would also give me strength.

I challenge you to sacrifice the things you feel God is leading you to give up. Walk that mountain to the altar and lay before God what is already His anyway.
Trust that God knows the end from the beginning and that He always has your best interest at heart.

Open your hands and let go of your feeble plans.  Let God fill your palms with His blessings.

Steps of Faith: Lord, help me to see the parts of my life that You want me to offer back to You. Give me strength to let go.

Greenola Style Giveaway

I came across this company on Instagram when I was scrolling through a bunch of other ethical companies.

Because it was winter when I first discovered them, I fell in love with their hats and headbands. My first item from Greenola was one of their Maria hats {made in Bolivia} that is so cute and comfy.

Greenola Style is known for its accessories and jewelry. As a Noonday Collection Ambassador, I normally do not purchase jewelry from other ethical jewelry companies simply because I wear a lot of Noonday, however, Greenola has a lot of other styles and unique designs that I love. They also partner with some countries that Noonday does not yet and that is intriguing to me. For instance, I did not own anything from Bolivia and thus this hat was a great addition to my collection.

Greenola Style
Since it has warmed up in a few places across the US since I first discovered Greenola, I decided to add a couple more pieces to my collection before I offered this giveaway.

I bought some of their Acai seed bracelets made in Bolivia and Baga Horn Stud earrings made in Kenya.

I have fallen IN LOVE with the Acai seed bracelets. At a minimum I wear three of them at a time. Yesterday I wore 7 of them. Ha!

The Baga Horn Studs are so classic and they go with everything. I mean everything. If I don’t know what earrings to wear, they are my go to.

One of my amazing readers is going to win a $50 gift card to Greenola Style to purchase your own amazing pieces. I am so excited for this giveaway!

To Enter :

1. Like this post and FOLLOW BOTH @krystalribble and @greenolastyle on Instagram

2. Tag two friends in a comment on my Instagram contest photo who would love my mission and @greenolastyle‘s mission to uplift the broken people and places of this world

3.{optional for a second entry} Visit www.krystalribble.com and subscribe to my blogs (Pink Button on the Blog Page) in order to be notified each time I do another giveaway

4. {optional for a second/third entry} repost this photo with #krgiveaway and tag both @krystalribble and @greenolastyle

GIVEAWAY winner will be drawn at random on Friday night April 22, 2016 and announced on my (@krystalribble) Instagram (Giveaway not sponsored by IG. Please know that I am receiving no compensation for this. I just absolutely LOVE what Greenola Style is doing and I want you all to join me in supporting their cause!)

Noonday Collection Blog : Ethical Home Goods Companies To Decorate Your Abode

I have the extreme pleasure of being a freelance writer for many different publications and sites. I will do my best to post links here to those articles.

Noonday Collection is one company that I do some work with not only as an Ambassador for their brand, but as a blogger for their site.

Today I published a story with them featuring Ethical Home Goods Companies To Decorate Your Abode.

Ethical Home
I wanted to share all the amazing products that make my home more rich.

AND….. if you follow me on Instagram, you just might have a chance to win some of these goodies throughout the next couple weeks. Just sayin’…….

Go read my blog HERE.

-KR

The Cornerstone {As Seen In Lifeway’s Journey}

{This devotional was first seen in Lifeway’s Journey devotional magazine for women. This devotional was one of mine that was featured in their March 2016 issue. Enjoy!}

Lifeway Journey March 2016

The Cornerstone

“The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” (Psalm 118:22).

Throughout my life, I have struggled with self-worth despite having a very supportive and loving family. Oddly enough, I did not struggle with my beauty but with my brains. It wasn’t my family who brought me down; it was some of my childhood teachers.

There was a lot of emphasis put on education in my family and as a result, I put pressure on myself to be perfect when it came it academics.

While many of my teachers were amazing, I had a few bad apples that led to my negative thinking patterns.

The straw that broke the camel’s back came for me in eighth grade. My band teacher was sponsoring an event that I didn’t fully agree with. When I told her that I wouldn’t be participating, she laughed at me and said, “I hate to tell you this, but one person will never change the world by standing on stupid beliefs.”

I was crushed. It was heartbreaking to have one of my educators tell me what I was taking a stand for was stupid. I never wanted to believe her, but I carried her words with me for a long time.

Then the time came for college, and I had an incredible English professor. He introduced me to topics and ideas I fell in love with. One of his assignments was for us to write about someone we believed made decisions that changed history. When our grades were given to us, my professor approached my desk and laid the paper down. He looked at me and said, “The greatest thing about your paper was, I could see you being the person in your story. You will make a difference in this world. Keep it up.”

My English professor had no idea the impact his words would have on me. He was a willing vessel for God that day and delivered redemption to my wounds.

I love the wisdom Psalm 118 gives us: “it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust a man.” Sometimes people of influence in our lives tear us down with words rather than build us up. However, God reminds us the “stone” others want to throw away is actually the rock He wants to build His kingdom on. The qualities we see as inadequate are often the qualities God gave us for a specific purpose in His kingdom.

Steps of Faith: Lord, help me find my worth in you and not in the words of other. Help me see myself as You see me.